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The Theory of ThriveSphere
During the 20th century, scientists from a variety of disciplines began breaking out of a mechanistic world-view to see the complexity and interconnectedness of life. While no unified field theory has emerged, our lives have been indelibly affected by certain discoveries, which include:

Systems Theory

Complex Adaptive Systems

Quantum Physics

Complexity Theory

The Uncertainty Principle

Chaos Theory


The study of relationships shows the profound influence of these theories, as well. Both theorists and practitioners working with couples now recognize that a relationship does not operate as a cause and effect, linear entity, adding up to the sum of its parts. Rather it is a whole, greater than the sum of its parts.

This nonlinear view—a whole of interacting parts—is best understood as a "complex adaptive system" and provides the theoretical base for ThriveSpheres.

While marriage and family scientists have spoken of intimate relationships in terms of systems theory for many years, most research continues to be conducted and reported in linear, mechanistic, reductionist fashion—deconstructing parts from the whole. This has been true in part because, until the present time, we have lacked a tool to capture simultaneously the whole and parts of an intimate relationship as a complex adaptive system. Now such a tool is available in a couple's ThriveSphere-Chart.
Away from Certain Approaches:

Pathology organized models

Role-based frameworks

Linear, cause-effect change models


Toward More Effective Orientations:

Client-centered growth models

Social systems frameworks

Circular, mutual causality

Solution-focused & narrative

The ThriveSphere-Chart represents the whole of interconnected and interdependent elements, influencing each other, providing a look at a relationship system at a particular point in time.

A ThriveSphere-Chart also supports other trends in Marriage Counseling and Education practice. The field has been moving away from certain approaches and toward more effective orientations as illustrated above.

Operationally, ThriveSpheres integrate these new constructionist trends with the Collaborative Marriage Model™. This model incorporates the following 7 sectors of a healthy marriage:

1. Committing to Partnership

2. Caring Actively for Self, Partner, Us

3. Communicating with Skill to Connect

4. Cooperating to Resolve Issues

5. Considering Life's Concerns and

6. Celebrating Our Life Together

7. Contributing to Life Around Us

The specific questions ("nodes" on the ThriveSphere-Chart) arrayed in the 7 sectors of the Collaborative Marriage model have been generated from a review of research on marriage and extensive clinical and educational experience.

ThriveSphere is also grounded in the neuroscience concept of narrative reflection. This is primarily a function of bi-hemispheric integration, through which emotion-based experience within the right (nonverbal) hemisphere accomplishes conconscious, cognitive awareness through the left (verbal) hemisphere. ThriveSphere stimulates bi-hemispheric awareness and conversation.

ThriveSphere has a rich theoretical foundation. As a professional facilitator working with couples, you can be assured that the theory undergirding ThriveSpheres offers the cutting edge advancement of marriage counseling and educational practice.